As I expected , the general consensus is that Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon did best in terms of overall rating. Farage has no track record in government to defend and has only a single issue or perhaps a set of core beliefs . He can afford to go all out knowing he is never going to convince everyone. You either empathise with or abhor his views. Sturgeon was, before the debate, something of an unknown quantity for many people south of the border. Often derided as a Krankie sidekick to the oily toad that is Alec Salmond, she handled herself very well, proved a tough and fearless adversary and managed to appeal to voters who don’t live in Scotland. Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru paled badly in comparison.
Of the others, Clegg proved he has still a lot of his power and charisma in these type of debates, Milliband was full of slogans and adopted a rather obvious coached approach to appeal to the watching TV audience and Cameron did better considering he was often under fire from six opponents. There was another one but…sorry I have got brain fade!
The debate was something of a construct based on 4 questions from the audience which broadly corresponded to the issues of the day ( as determined by the media and politicians, not the public, those hard-working families, our NHS, zzzzzzz ) it was interesting to note that the first question was asked by a 17 year old called Johnny. All seven leaders quickly demonstrated their sincere empathy by addressing Johnny by name at the end of every sentence. Did they realise this lad was too young to vote?
We tried to watch and keep an eye on Twitter at the same time. Over a million tweets were made during the programme and it was too much. Social media is playing an increasing part in politics and it was fascinating to see the minions from each party constantly tweeting away saying how well their glorious leader was performing. The Tory Twitterwhip-in-chief had obviously directed the rank and file to constantly refer to DC as being “In Charge”
Overall it was fairly close with each set of supporters claiming their leader had won. Not sure myself but I would confidently say that the debate comfortably beat ” Masterchef ” into second place. Just as well “The Voice” was not on!
On a local level, I note that our local candidates in Hazel Grove during the debate maintained a mixed attitude to Social Media: Michael Taylor (Labour) was actively engaged all the way through, unsurprisingly given his experience as a communicator in the digital world, Darran Palmer (UKIP) was also obviously watching, tweeting and retweeting. But no sign of William Wragg ( or his Binary Robin, Tom Dowse ) on either of their twitter acounts. And from Lisa Smart ( Lib Dem Heiress ) not a dickybird for 3 days. Perhaps she has got lost scoping out car parks on Werneth Low.
A politician can be too active though. I unfollowed Louise Mensch tonight, receiving her twitter output was like drinking from a firehose.